August 13th, 2012
Todd plays "Titanium" on his piano
DAVID GUETTA ft. SIA - TITANIUM
A pop song review
Todd: I think me and David Guetta got off on the wrong foot.
- Video for David Guetta ft. Kid Cudi - "Memories"
- Kid Cudi: Yeah, yeah
Todd (VO): I mean, that's just bad luck really, or more like just my own ignorance. When I was first introduced to the Ibiza superstar, French DJ and producer, I didn't know that he'd been making hits in Europe for years. [Clip of Black Eyed Peas - "I Gotta Feeling"] I didn't know he helped produce one of my guiltiest pleasures of all time. I was completely unaware of his previous oeuvre of work when he first started having American hits.
Todd: And what was that first hit?
- Video for David Guetta ft. Akon - "Sexy Bitch"
- Akon: Damn, you's a sexy bitch, a sexy bitch
- Damn, you's a sexy bitch. Damn girl!
Todd: [fake laughter] I'm trying to find the words to describe this song without being disrespectful. "Sexy Bitch" is a rancid puddle of dog vomit, and everyone involved is probably a child molester.
- Akon: Damn girl!
Todd (VO): If I had to make up a list of the top 10 worst songs I've ever reviewed, I'd probably reserve two or three places for "Sexy Bitch"—a song so bad, it made America finally say, "yeah, you know what? Maybe this whole Akon thing was a mistake." Considering all the other terrible songs that Akon unleashed on the world without consequence, that's quite a feat. The lyrics were inane, the vocals were awful, and the production was tired and monotonous. I just hated it all around, and because of that, I initially pegged David Guetta as the Michael Bay of music, pumping out loud, insulting, offensive product devoid of substance or meaning. Hell, he even [picture of...] looks like Michael Bay. It's an understandable conclusion, right?
Todd: But that was two years ago, and...
- Clip of David Guetta ft. Kelly Rowland - "When Love Takes Over"
Todd (VO): ...now that I have more experience with Guetta, I realize that those initial impressions were way off. So I'm gonna try and be the bigger man and admit I was wrong. Understandably wrong, but still wrong. And I'll take the hit for thinking that "Sexy Bitch" was a fair representation of his work because it's not.
Todd: David Guetta isn't awful, he's boring. He's intensely boring.
- Video for David Guetta & Chris Willis - "Love Is Gone"
Todd (VO): I can't think of any other big-name artist who makes music as mechanical or robotic, which is impressive considering how many of his peers [clips of Daft Punk and deadmau5 performing] present themselves as actual, literal robots. And even worse than just writing boring music, he has an amazing ability to recruit other singers and make them boring too. [Clips of "Turn Me On"...] From turning the vivacious, demented Nicki Minaj into anonymous house diva, [...and "Without You"] to making the very first Usher song I ever heard where I didn't even recognize him, David Guetta has perfected the ability to drain the life force of everyone he comes across. I kind of imagine him as [clip from Sonic the Hedgehog] Dr. Robotnik, taking poor, defenseless artists and turning them into mindless automatons. [Clip of "Where Them Girls At"] The only person who's ever worked with him and managed to sound like themselves is Flo Rida, and that's only because he had no personality to lose in the first place. I don't even dislike any of these songs because that would imply that they get a reaction out of me.
Todd: Which brings us to his latest. Now, trying to do an analysis of a David Guetta song is like trying to do an artistic critique of [image of...] a printer test page. But this is the job I chose, so today let's look at his most recent hit, "Personal Strength Song #25455-B", [single cover] known by us humans as "Titanium", and featuring some chick named Sia.
Now for the last few weeks, I've been hearing this song, and I think, in all honesty, it might be one of Guetta's bet...
PawDugan: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Did I hear someone say something about Sia?
Todd: Oh, uh...hi, Paw. Um...[looking at notes] yeah, Sia, that's the name of the person I'm reading here. Why? Have you heard of her?
Paw: Uh, yeah. Why have you not heard of her?
Todd: Like...I only really listen to, like, Top 40 radio, it's the only station I get in my car. Although I am saving up to get one of those iPod things I've been hearing about
Paw: [interrupting] We-he-he-he-hell, well, it seems your little pop song review show wants to be taken over by someone who knows something about real music. Listen close.
- Video for Zero 7 - "Destiny"
- Sia: I lie awake
- I've gone to ground
Paw (VO): So Sia was discovered by the public—well, the cool public—back in 2001 for her vocal work with downtempo group Zero 7, most notably her amazing performance with Sophie Baker on the song "Destiny".
- Clip of "Breathe Me"
- Sia: Hurt myself again today
Paw (VO): From there, Sia became indie pop's new darling girl with her [clip of "Soon We'll Be Found"] big solo albums, which gradually got bigger and bigger to the point of being sold in Starbucks, [clips of "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine"] and which led her away from the smooth jazzy sounds to more boisterous dance tunes. [Clip of "Clap Your Hands"] Her latest album, while still pretty good on its own merit, is evident of her...evolution? For lack of a better term. Still, hipster dream girl.
Paw: And there you have it. Let's hope now you know something a little bit more about real, good music than you did...just a moment ago.
Todd: Wow, thanks for that, Paw. Well, here's how I know her.
- Video for Flo Rida ft. Sia - "Wild Ones"
- Sia: Hey I heard you were a wild one
- Oooh, If I took you home, it'd be a home run
- Show me how you do
- I wanna shut down the club
Paw: [aghast] Why would you do this to me?
Todd: That came out this year, man. Don't you just love that hilarious oversinging? It's like she's making fun of him. "Hey, I heard you were a wild one. Ooooh." And now she's making [clip of "Titanium"] shitty dance music with European DJs. Isn't that great?
Paw: But...but...I have all her CDs. I'm gonna have to burn them now.
Todd: Oh relax, this song isn't that bad.
Paw: Yes, it is! It's horrible!
Todd: Hey, you wanted to be on Todd's show about silly pop songs, so this is what you get. Besides, [clip of Imogen Heap - "Hide and Seek"] I think that Imogen Heap has proven that even if you maintain your artistic integrity, [followed by Jason Derulo - "Whatcha Say"] they'll just sample you and drag you into the pop world anyway. So really, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
And besides, what's so bad about this?
- Video for "Titanium"
- Sia: I'm criticized
Todd (VO): I like Sia's voice. She actually manages to retain some of her humanity. Then, of course, she's overcome by Guettatron 3000.
Todd: But at least she's there for a little while, right?
Paw: [distraught] Why would she want to get involved in this? Why would sh... why would she want to perform this...terrible, awful song?
Todd: Um...probably because she wrote it.
Paw: This is wrong. [Struggles to get up] This is all wrong. This...all wrong.
Todd: Yeah, whatever, Paw. You just don't get it. This is great. [pause] Okay, it's not, at all, but it's better than it could be.
Todd (VO): And since we have a video with a plot, I guess I should mention that first. Basically, it's someone's half-assed X-Men ripoff student film with this kid manifesting superpowers at the beginning, and then having to run from the government. Because after all, what image best fits a song about inner strength and resilience, than a child running for his life? I guess it wouldn't be bad as a short film, but as a music video, it screams, "I didn't want to make a music video." It doesn't work with the song at all, the editing doesn't match it, and the message I got from it is that Sia would prefer not to be associated with it.
And then he explodes and they all die.
Todd: I know that this video is trying to get me to sympathize with the kid, but honestly, he seems like a real menace [repeats end] and probably needs to be put down like a dog. Yeah, I don't buy it. Still better than X-Men 3, though. [Thumbs-up]
- Sia: I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose
Todd (VO): Now the song "Titanium" is an anthem of personal strength, about fearlessly withstanding blows from your enemies. You are strong, like titanium.
Todd: In Guetta's case, he might be [picture of robot] literally made of titanium, but let's ignore that.
Todd (VO): From what I can tell, Sia writes lyrics more based around mood than details and situations, so we don't have much to work with here.
Todd: But we do get a little.
- Sia: You shout it out, but I can't hear a word you say
- I'm talking loud, not saying much
Todd: So he's talking loud and she can't hear a word, and she's talking loud, not saying much. So basically what's going on is this.
Todd (mirror-image): You suck, you suck! I hate you and you are completely terrible! Why don't you go die, you utter waste of garbage! You deserve to be punched in the face until you bleed! I hope you eat a bad hamburger and catch a horrible disease! Go screw yourself! You suck!
Todd: [covering ears through above] Lalalalalalalala, I can't hear you, lalalalalalalalala I am not hearing you lalalalala...
Todd (VO): Unfortunately, "talking loud" and "not saying much" is a perfect description of this song too because what Guetta does best is loudness. See, it's a slow build. Sia's slowly building up strength and energy, [clip of Deep Blue Sea—Russell (Samuel L. Jackson) is yelling...] then right when she reaches maximum power...[...and a giant shark pops out and eats him] ...bam. Destroyed by Guetta's music. Yes, Guetta is the genetically-engineered shark in this metaphor.
Todd: It's just hard to buy the sentiment of toughness when she's overpowered so thoroughly by her own music.
Todd (VO): That'd be less of a problem if David Guetta was an interesting producer, but...he's...not. It's just your basic, standard house music, and is it just me, or do the beats seem like...out-of-sync with each other?
Todd: What do you call oontz-oontz music when it's played backwards? Ztnuh-ztnuh?
Todd (VO): No, I don't like Guetta's production work...ever, but let me tell you my real problem with this song. Let's think about that metaphor, "titanium."
- Sia: I am titanium
Todd (VO): Being made of titanium means being impervious. You don't corrode, you don't break down.
- Sia: Cut me down
- But it's you who'll have further to fall
Todd (VO): Yeah, whatever, Obi-Wan.
- Clip from Star Wars
- Obi-Wan: If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
- Sia: I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose
Todd (VO): You're not only getting back up after being knocked down Chumbawumba-style, but you're actually feeling nothing and reacting to nothing.
Todd: It's a variation of the old "I am rubber, you are glue" defense. It's...it's not really any more sophisticated than "sticks and stones may break my bones."
- Sia: Sticks and stones may break my bones
Todd: You know, it couldn't hurt to try a little harder, guys.
Todd (VO): But anyway, my real problem with this. Here's the message of the song. Your barrage of words won't hurt me. I feel no pain. Bullets just bounce off me. [Picture of Superman as bullets bounce off him] Like Superman.
Todd: Well, you know what? Superman is lame. [Picture of...] Batman is cool. I'd rather be someone who can't take a bullet and still kicks ass. I think I actually prefer Katy Perry's [clip of...] deeply condescending "Firework" to this. She at least understands that people have feelings and stuff.
But on the other hand, "Titanium" is probably better than a song where David Guetta tries to relate to our [as a robot] hu-man emotions.
Todd (VO): It's probably for the best Sia chose this for her Guetta collaboration. I mean, it's gotta be better than any of her other songs would fit.
- Clip of "Breathe Me"
- Sia: Hold me, wrap me up
- [Interrupted by Guetta's music]
Todd: Nope, doesn't work. Besides, maybe in these deeply troubled times, an anthem about personal strength is what we need. About standing strong, about not backing down, about...
- Sia: Stone heart, machine gun
- Firing at the ones who run
Todd: [then again...] Nnnnhh. Actually, maybe what we need in these troubled times is for this song to not be played for a while. Just a thought.
Todd (VO): It's a frustrating song. I like the buildup way more than the payoff. I guess you could call it a slow burn, if you mean "burning" in the sense of an unpleasant rash. I'm not even sure I would call this song flawed. It's just not being played in the right place.
Todd: It belongs on a dance floor.
Todd (VO): Now if I was listening to this on a dance floor, I wouldn't object. But I don't go out clubbing and I still here it. It's...it's like listening to Christmas music in March. It doesn't fit. David Guetta's music should be inside clubs, like a quarantine so it doesn't infect the rest of the world.
Yeah, I'm a little divided on this song. I guess my verdict on this depends on whether I think of it as a Sia song being dragged down by David Guetta, or another boring David Guetta song being delivered by working with a decent artist.
Todd: What do you think, Paw?
Paw: [looking at wall] The Sia I know is dead.
Todd: Actually, you know what? I've changed my mind. I think this was a great idea. I hope it starts a trend even. [Images of...] Feist can start having guest verses from Pitbull, Regina Spektor can start [brief clip of "California Gurls"] shooting whipped cream from her boobs, Bjork can join the Black Eyed Peas. You know what? The more I think about it, the more I like it. David Guetta is leading us into our bland, boring, robot future. I approve. [thumbs-up]
Sia: I am titanium
Closing tag song: La Roux - "Bulletproof"
Titanium is owned by What a Music Ltd.
This video is owned by me
Paw: The Sia I know is dead...[quick closeup] Dead! Not in the threatening way, just emotionally...dead.